Tech Tuesday…Behavior Bonus

Last week I discussed the beauty of photographing a bird while it is preening. It would seem that the images are reward enough but, if you are patient and keep that lens trained on your preening bird, more often than not, you will be rewarded with a bonus…the “wing flap”…

The wing flap is the added bonus for those who don’t give up on a preening bird too soon…

Before I understood this simple behavior I would be hit and miss, just happening on a bird as it did a wing flap but, I didn’t know what led up to that action…

Now that I understand that at the end of a preening session the bird will do a wing flap to get all the loose feathers out and to settle its wings in to place I anticipate the behavior and keep my lens trained on it AS LONG AS IT TAKES for it to finish preening (shoot that’s just more beautiful preening shots for the files, right!) and capture that final wing flap…

Here are a couple of tips…in anticipation of the grand finale DON’T fill up your buffer or you will be left sitting on your shutter while nothing happens (*special note to self on this one!) and miss the peak of action…

Tip number two…now that you’ve held back some on the preening shots to have room on your buffer, don’t hold back when the wing flap begins…it’s usually quite brief and you want to capture the full sequence and in the process, the peak of action…

Tip number three…this one’s a biggie…leave some room around the bird for the wing flap to avoid cutting off wings, heads, other bird parts, etc. They get both wider and taller when they are doing their wing flap! (Sorry no examples…don’t get me wrong, I get them now and then, I just deleted them all when I should have saved them as examples) You know the images I’m talking about where you have the bottom half of the bird in the top half of the frame while the rest of it has already left the picture before you could react or you have a frame filling, virtually wingless bird flopping around in the image and miss…yeap, peak of action!

Images created (in order) Nikon D3, AF-S 200-400mm VR – D3S, AF-S 600mm VR II – Nikon D2XS, AF-S 600mm with TC-17E II – Nikon D3S, AF-S 600mm VR – D3, AF-S 600mm with TC17E II – D3S, AF-S 600mm VR with TC-14E II on Lexar Professional Digital Media

Fun With City Hall

A day of shooting with Sandy, who came in for a few days of private tutoring found us in front of city hall in the afternoon. Even with the sunlight behind the buildings, the range of light was greater than our cameras would handle in one click which gave us a perfect opportunity to work with HDR…

…and to add the creative finishing touches in the digital darkroom…

I’ll be teaching this technique and more at Photoshop World next week. Hope to see you there!

Image created with Nikon D3X, AF-S 24-70mm on Lexar Digital Media.

Tech Tuesday…You Are So Beautiful!

While I love a bird portrait as much as anyone, behavior adds so much more impact to an image and preening behavior is one of my favorites! I love the beauty and grace, the simplicity of the gentle curve of a White Ibis’ neck as it reaches for the feathers on it’s back…

I try to catch them as they stretch and pull at their wings…

At the very tip of their wing, a wisp of feather curls around their beak…

And the dexterity in which they get to those hard to reach places…

When they are in or near water, zoom (or step back) a bit and include the reflection…

Try to isolate your preening bird to keep your viewers attention focused right where you want it…

So, the next time you find yourself photographing birds, watch their behavior and train your lens on a preening bird…not only will you make some simply beautiful images there will likely be an added bonus at the end so, stay focused (on your bird) and…stay tuned next week when I share the bonus!

Images created with (in order) Nikon D3 – AF-S 600mm f4, D3S, AF-S 600mm VR – D1H, AF-S 600mm – D2X, AF-S 200-400mm VR with TC-14E II – D3, AF-S 600mm f4 VR with TC-14E II – Nikon D3, AF-S 200-400mm with TC14E II on Lexar Digital Media

Tech Tuesday…Photoshop World In 14 Days

It’s not to late to sign up for Photoshop World, Las Vegas. I’ll be there teaching several classes both in classrooms and on the Expo floor and mingling with everyone in between. It’s the single most inspiring event in the Photography/Photoshop World…hey, that’s a catchy name! Seriously, you will learn more in a few days at Photoshop World than from a month of Tech Tuesdays!

For those who can’t spare a few days, you can buy a day pass to Photoshop World here.

So, what are you waiting for? If you don’t already have tickets, sign up now and be sure to say hi when you see me!